Relationships are risky. They can be the most challenging and the most enriching aspects of life. This week we are thrilled to have Philip and Holly Wagner with us and we are going to tackle your tough questions.
Q: I haven’t been in a relationship of any kind for over a decade, things have changed so much I’m not sure what to look for.
A: Look for the ability to honor others. Watch for character in every area of their lives; it doesn’t just appear randomly. Do they treat others with respect and live with integrity? Are they serving and willing to help others, because marriage at its core is about serving each other. Do they have a sense of humor? Life is challenging and you have to be able to laugh together. Look for things that go beyond chemistry and the spark of attraction.
Q: I’m beginning to think I will be alone for the remainder of my time here on earth. Should I keep praying for God to find me someone, or let it go?
A:Being single is not a sickness you need to be healed from. You can be single and live a fulfilled life. Live your purpose. Make sure you are not avoiding relationships because of past pain. Allow God to heal any wounds in your heart. Marriage is not the source of happiness and joy.
Q: How do you cut toxic relationships out of your life? My husband and I have some unhealthy relationships with family, and it’s hurting our marriage… but they are family. How do I create boundaries without hurting myself?
A: The marriage relationship always takes precedence and must be central. If extended family members are dysfunctional and undermine your marriage, you don’t have to spend time with them. Find a way to honor them, call them, send a gift but stay home. Be aware of unrealistic expectations. They will always create disappointment and feelings of insufficiency. Love your family members for who they are, not for who they may never be able to be.
Q: How should a wife approach her husband to take over the role as spiritual leader in the household? I am currently taking that responsibility in our home and it is creating internal conflict for myself and external conflict for my husband and me.
A: Focus on encouraging your husband whenever he prays or has a comment about his faith. If you criticize and diminish what a man has to offer, he’s not going to be offering more, he will shut down. Honor where he is in his faith and keep encouraging. Men thrive when they feel respected.
Q: How do you get your friends, family, co-workers, to not just hear you, but understand what you are saying?
A: Build a foundation of honesty, transparency and positivity. Don’t just tolerate others – accept, endorse and admire them! Be aware that there are so many opportunities for misunderstanding. Learn to use the parroting technique where you reflect back to each other what you heard them say.
Q: My best friend and I recently had a falling out, how should I go about reconciling this relationship?
A: Make the decision to forgive whether you feel like it or not. Have the hard conversations. Reconciliation takes two people and trust has to be earned, but forgiveness is a choice each individual can make.
Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace. Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen. Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you. Ephesians 4:2-3, 29, 31-32